The Austin Chronicle

The Take-Out

The meat of the matter

By Brandon Watson, October 30, 2015, Food

It couldn't have popped up at a more auspicious time. Just as I was slicing another circle of summer sausage, I clicked on one of the many articles circulating throughout social media saying my go-to lazy lunch was going to kill me. Processed meats, including the delicious slice I was idly shoving in my mouth, were linked to cancer by the World Health Organization with the same certitude they usually reserve for asbestos or cigarettes. Red meats were listed as "probably carcinogenic," a phrase as comforting as "possibly poisonous" or "Donald Trump." Did I quit smoking only to be done in by a meatball?

My diet wasn't always so terrible. I've even been known to crack open a copy of Cooking Light. Sure I'd substitute pats of butter for olive oil, but I at least gave some thought to health. Of late, even that pretense is gone. I subsist on death burgers and blood sausage and bone marrow in an attempt to be reasonably metal. But maybe it's time to discover what vegetables are all about.

It's not as if the concept is completely foreign. In high school, hopped up on Morrissey, I declared myself vegetarian with a toss of my bangs. That mostly meant I subsisted on boxed pasta salad and microwaved cheese tortillas, but slowly I learned a few new tricks. I learned that eggplant roasted could magically turn into baba ghanoush, and grilled asparagus is infinitely better with the tiniest pinch of sugar. My mom swears my nephew will only eat brussels sprouts when they are done "Brandon's way."

But I'm pretty sure somewhere around my 19th sip & stroll of the year, I've completely lost those skills. And when I grab a work snack at H-E-B, it's easy to convince myself that I am eating right when I grab beef jerky instead of Cool Ranch Doritos. But since I can no longer lie to myself (convincingly), I'm committing myself to a little experiment. I'm buying a grocery bag full of broccoli and pattypan squash and making at least one lap around the Downtown farmers' market. And save for review dinners, charity events, Texas Monthly barbecue shindigs, backyard cookouts, and today's lunch, I will only be eating vegetables.

You win, Pamela Anderson.

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